It may feel today as if we are living through a recession or even a depression, but that’s a mistake. It’s vital to understand this because the way to survive a recession – cut back, hunker down, wait for it to pass – will not guarantee a future once the crisis is over. In fact, it will probably guarantee that you won’t have a future once the crisis is over.
This is because what we are facing is not recession but a reconfiguration. Everything has been blown apart, and will be put back together differently.
“Back To Normal” Is Not An Option
The rules are being changed, and the stakes have been raised. Let’s assume that a CoVid vaccine is launched by next spring, and by this October 2022 we no longer need to organise ourselves to control the spread of infection. Where will your business be then?
Will you be just “still there”, exhausted and weakened? Or will you look back and think that, for all the chaos, this present crisis was the catalyst for huge positive change; for transformation? Those are the options; transformation or a marginal existence. The option that doesn’t exist is “back to normal.” Because there will be a new normal, and it won’t feel very normal for a very long time.
This matters not just for your business but for the economy as a whole. If everyone tries to get back to “normal” or, worse, waits for other people to get things back to “normal”, then the prospects are bleak. Anyone who can engage with the fact that everything has changed and adapt to the new will benefit society just as much as they benefit their own business.
Don’t Be Distracted
It’s easy to let your attention be pulled towards the problems, but there is another side to the coin. Take heart from a conversation I had with a client, the head of a digital marketing agency. He told me: “Most of our competitors have people on furlough and have stopped all business development. We on the other hand have added 15 new clients since the start of the lockdown.”
It’s a time of great opportunity for him. Lots of retailers desperately need online sales to replace those not coming through the shops. Lots of brands need to accelerate their digital transformation. And most of his competitors are in hiding. Different companies, superficially very similar, will have very different outcomes. The difference? What they decide to do.
My next post will talk concretely about what you need to do.
Alastair Dryburgh will be speaking at our Business Breakfast TV series on December 2nd. You can.